Attracting nature and wildlife to your garden can be a fascinating experience and can do wonders for the health of your garden. With just a few changes, you will be able to create an ideal milieu that will attract a wide variety of native creatures and help your garden thrive.
All you need are four elements in your garden (food, shelter, water, and a place to breed) to attract nature and wildlife. And if you have a small garden, providing them even a couple of these elements, if not all, can help your garden thrive.
Here are some fantastic ways to integrate these elements into your garden seamlessly and bring your garden to life. You can either try one or all of them to enjoy the magical experience of attracting nature to your garden.
1. Changes in Gardening Practices can attract nature into your garden
By changing a few of your gardening practices or introducing new ones, you will be able to create a social space for nature in your garden.
- Grow a mix of shrubs, trees, or climbers to offer food and nesting sites to wildlife. Consider growing rowan, elder, crab apple, blackthorn, and hawthorn as they are great for blossoms and berries.
- Avoiding chemical pesticides as they may kill beneficial insects. You can try natural ways to control pests and even make your own compost so that you do not require chemical fertilizers.
- Consider planting flowers like marigolds, poached egg plants, calendula, and daisies to attract animals and insects that eat away pests.
If your garden is too small and growing trees does not seem to be a viable option, you can get a few planted in the neighborhood.
Moreover, within your garden, you can offer toads and hedgehogs with habitat and hibernation spots as they can help you keep a check on slugs. Also, hoverflies, lacewings, and ladybirds will eat away insect pests.
2. Build dedicated habitats to attract nature into your garden
Different animals need different types of shelter and habitats. They can use it either for nesting or hiding from predators. And building habitats for them can help you attract nature to your garden.
You can try putting out nesting boxes or bird feeders that will encourage birds to choose your backyard as their home, with branches of small trees and shrubs being great spots for nesting boxes.
We shall talk about plants you can consider growing to encourage animals and select insects to visit your garden in the next part.
What to plant in dedicated habitats to attract nature into your garden
You can also consider hedges as they offer animals some extra nesting space. Plants like hazel, blackthorn, cherry plum, buckthorn, hawthorn, elder, and privet can be utilized for this purpose.
Creating a butterfly garden is also a marvelous way to encourage butterflies to visit your garden and help pollinate it as well. Consider growing various nectar-rich plants like grevilleas, lomandras, pimeleas, and flax lilies.
Making sure that your pets and the wildlife are well adjusted in your garden
While you are building some exclusive spaces for wildlife, you also check your pet animals.
If you have pets, you should consider keeping them indoors or leashed to ensure you create a wildlife-friendly area in your garden rather than scaring them away.
You can even allot different sections by putting up fences so that both – domestic and wild animals can enjoy your garden.
3. To attract nature in your garde, don’t be so tidy
Wildlife prospers in the wild. And to encourage nature into your garden, you need to make it feel a little unkempt.
You do not have to turn your entire garden into a jungle. You can pick a couple of spots that you can avoid mowing in that area.
You can also grow some wildflowers, making it an ideal meadowland that will welcome a wide range of insects, butterflies, and bees, and they, in turn, can become food for small mammals and birds.
You can even leave a tiny pile of twigs or raked leaves that will offer them a safe refuge or even a place to hibernate in the winter season. You can also keep a pile of logs that can provide food for insect larvae when they decay.
Be careful of only attracting nature that is good for your garden
However, it is essential to ensure that your garden attracts only the animals that benefit your garden.
While we wish to encourage butterflies, birds, bees, and other small mammals, we also want to steer clear from skunks, opossums, and raccoons.
For this, you need to ensure that your feeding areas are clean. Consider getting above and below-ground fencing that would discourage them from entering your garden.
Also, hanging wind chimes on the branches might not bother birds and will be able to keep deer away from your garden. But even after all these measures, you may still get a few visits from some unexpected guests.
4. Build a Rock Garden to attract nature
Building a rock garden can help your garden in unexpected ways.
To make a rock garden, pick a shady spot in your garden that will help you offer a habitat for different types of fungus and invertebrate species that can fight off some maleficent insects.
And it is no surprise that rock garden is effortless to maintain and also simple to create.
What nature a rock garden attracts
The rock garden will also attract birds, small mammals, beetle larvae, amphibians, and even mason bees.
These specialized insects are known to be suited to more deficient and thinner soils. Moreover, they can also attract small reptiles such as skinks and other lizards.
Creatures that often love rock gardens are cold-blooded and thus require warmth to survive. And since rocks heat up in the sun, your garden offers an excellent spot for them to rest.
So, by building a rock garden, you will be able to encourage them to visit your garden more often.
What to put in your rock garden to attract nature
You can also pile up stones in the sun or even near a water source to attract different species. Also, be sure that you pick rocks of different shapes and sizes.
You should maintain some gap between each rock. Once they are in situ, you can leave your rock pile and let the weeds grow all around it.
5. Create a garden pond to attract nature
Ponds are one of the best ways to attract frogs, toads, and dragonflies into your garden. In the video below I show you how to build a garden pond with a very beneficial feature that can really help increase the amount of wildlife that uses your pond.
While frogs and toads will be able to complete their lifecycle in your pond, dragonflies can breed and lay eggs in underwater plants. Frogs and toads will enjoy a home, that being the pond, to complete their lifecycle. Dragonflies breed in water and lay their eggs in underwater plants.
A pond also provides birds a place to drink and enjoy a bath – always a wonderful sight in the garden.
Considerations for making a garden pond to attract nature
There are a few things that you should consider while building a pond in your garden. It would help if you were sure that the pond has both – sun and shade areas.
Also, ensure that water plants only cover about one-third of the surface of the pond. Surround it with rocks and nectar-rich wildflowers to give a more natural feel.
While adding fish to your pond is a great idea, you need to know that they might eat up some of your wildlife.
Having a pond in your garden is not just good for the health of your garden but can also add up to its overall aesthetic value. The benefits of having one and possible considerations and disadvantages are covered in detail in this article that I wrote about garden ponds being a good or bad idea. Feel free to check them here.
However, not everyone can have the space to incorporate a pond in their garden, and we have something that you can look into to making a pond that will fit right in your garden, no matter the sizing constraints.
How to make a small pond for your garden to attract nature
One of the easiest ways to build a miniature ‘wannabe’ pond in your garden is by filling up a tire with water. Pick the desired spot for your pond, level the ground, and then fill the inside of the tire with soil.
Once you have an appropriate depth, put a layer of any waterproof material on top. Now, you need to build up the soil around the tire until it is wholly covered. Add rocks, rocks, and even plants to camouflage the tire.
The final step is to add water. Now you can sit back and wait for the wildlife to visit your garden. While this will fulfill the purpose of a pond perfectly, building one will take a lot less space, time, effort, and money.
6. Offer an Extra Meal for nature in your garden
For kids, food is a common means of bribe. The same goes with domestic pets and even wildlife.
Giving them access to a leisurely meal can do wonders for your garden. You can put some nuts and seeds in the open. Doing so will help attract goldfinch, sparrow, blue tit, blackbird, and robin to your garden.
We can plant to suit the needs of the birds and other wildlife that find a haven and a habitat on our home ground, and we can understand that to do so is a moral dictate, not a personal whim.Allen Lacy, in The Inviting Garden
You can also consider putting raked leaves in a shady and damp corner of the garden, as this will offer both habitat and a food source to various species.
You will be able to attract toads, frogs, newts, centipedes, and even hedgehogs in your garden quite easily.
When it is best to offer food to nature and animals in your garden
Summer months are great to offer them food as they usually feed on bugs and worms that burrow down deep in the soil when the ground receives direct sunlight and no rain.
Hedgehogs will also benefit if they get enough food during the summer months as they can survive their winter hibernation better.
Also, since hedgehogs and foxes are nocturnal animals, you should leave food for them around dusk.
Choosing the food options best for animals in your garden
When picking the right food option, you should go for moist or dry pet food. Avoid getting anything fish-based for hedgehogs.
You can even offer them table scraps. Just be sure that you leave it quite far from your house.
Conclusion on how to attract nature in our garden
Building a wildlife garden can be a magical experience.
You will be startled to witness frogs returning to your pond, worms basking in the sun, swarms of bees hovering over the wildflowers, birds enjoying a bath, and newts relishing their breeding spot.
These day-to-day sights are as fascinating as witnessing a rare species in for the very first time. And while it is true that the more habitats you have, the better diversity of invertebrates you will attract, you must never overdo it and risk infestations.
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